I thought we were doing okay in the media independence arena, until I read the horrendous statistics in today’s papers. Did you know that Malaysia is ranked 141st worldwide amongst 191 countries? And guess who our closest competitors are…. Cambodia, Ivory Coast, Moldova, Bhutan. This hardly equates press freedom.
And then to add more sulphuric acid to a gaping open wound, I logged into the internet today and discovered from Lilian and Paris that bloggers may need to be classified. Huh? What’s the criteria for classification? And why classify indeed? According to our Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin, classification of bloggers as professionals and non-professionals will help people in general identify what sort of information to believe and what to ignore. But why? Isn’t it a feature of democracy to allow us to speak up and be heard? People can then judge if what they read is justifiable or not. And what if someone is classified non-professional? Does that mean no one will go and read his blog? I believe that every Malaysian is entitled to an opinion, whether it is right or wrong is another matter altogether, but then that will be open for discussion.
Most of the bloggers these days blog about personal stuff, and that includes personal opinions, mind you. They blog about their kids, the food they eat, the places they visit, and yes along the way, they may ruffle some feathers. But that is hardly a reason to classify us. Let us bloggers write whatever we want. And let’s allow Malaysians and everyone else (hey, some of us Malaysian bloggers have a foreign following too, yeah?) to make matured informed decisions themselves. That’s what life is all about! And that’s what makes for a multi-cultural nation.